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Donors Should Coordinate Efforts to Better Fight Global Poverty: Forbes Insight Study

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Philanthropists around the world want to alleviate global poverty, and according to a new study, the most effective approach may entail coordination of efforts.

Forbes Insight, supported by Credit Suisse, surveyed 317 individuals with investable assets of $1 million or more, exploring the question of how a philanthropist can best help mitigate global poverty. 

Seventy-three percent of philanthropists said they wanted to see pattern changes at the highest levels, as they seek to affect international or government policies at the onset of their giving.  

A problem as huge as global poverty can be addressed only by systemic change rather that specific projects, they said. Fifty-seven percent agreed that wealth creation, understood as economic growth that benefits most of society, was an effective means to alleviate or eradicate poverty.

Nearly half of survey respondents agreed that too many organizations within the non-profit sector overlapped.

Although many individual donors wanted to make their own imprint, the most effective approach for a philanthropist tackling global poverty may be to join forces with other experienced philanthropists or organizations or to seed the initiatives of others.

The research showed that philanthropy could be viewed as a portfolio, with some assets devoted to global initiatives—which entail systemic change and have longer turnarounds—and some to local initiatives, which can have a necessary, immediate effect.

Among the respondents, 42% focused on targeted and local giving, 29% on global giving and the remaining 29% on either or both. Global giving was more prevalent among 40% of the wealthiest respondents, those with investable assets of more than $50 million.

Twenty-six percent of respondents defined success as focus on long-term impact, while 23% saw it as alleviating physical suffering or meeting immediate needs.

Women’s health issues continue to gain in importance, with family planning and contraception expected to become a top priority in the next five years, named by 33% of respondents.

Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they had personally made their biggest contribution to this area.

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